One of the ways to use the power of your subconscious mind to help you achieve your writing goals is to give it a “template” to follow, or a guide in the form of a Role Model that your conscious mind recognizes and understands. To do this, choose an author who has achieved the type of success you are going for and work to emulate the traits and habits of that author as best you can. Following in another’s footsteps gives you a guide for your own daily behavior as well as guideposts for your writing and writing career.
Role modeling is not copying another person or trying to be their clone; it’s simply using the qualities of another writer you admire as a touchstone to keep you moving ahead toward your own success.
When using Role Modeling, select traits and qualities in another writer that you admire and use those as a springboard for your own behaviors. Choose behaviors, attitudes, work habits, and other elements of another writer’s life that represent success to you and strive to emulate these things in your own way. It’s not necessary to know your Role Model personally; for instance, many authors post their writing schedules and their own paths to success on their websites, or in their books. Read these, and then pick out the habits and success traits of your Role Model that you want to emulate.
Let me give you an example. Several years ago I attended a large writing conference. Many attendees were wearing buttons with WWND? inscribed on them. I asked what the acronym stood for and was told it meant “What would Nora do?” meaning what would bestselling author Nora Roberts do. These button wearing aspiring authors were using the ideal of Nora Roberts as a touchstone for their own behaviors and actions as they strove toward their own writing success. For instance, when they didn’t feel like writing, the button reminded them to ask themselves what Nora Roberts would do when she didn’t feel like writing. The answer of course is that she probably writes no matter how she feels. And so forth.
In a similar way, you are working to pick an author you admire and ask yourself “What would Author X do?” It’s a good way to stay focused on your daily and long term writing goals.
A Composite Writer
An easy way to use Role Modeling is to create a composite writer. You probably have several authors that you admire; simply combine the traits and habits that these successful authors possess and strive to emulate those.
Perhaps you learned from Author X when you heard her speak at a conference that she writes Monday through Friday and takes weekends off to be with her family. So the habit of writing five days per week would be something that you want to incorporate into your composite writer Role Model. Maybe you read that Author Y was rejected three hundred times before he sold his first novel. The trait that you would want to list on your ideal composite might be persistence, or tenacity, or believing in self.
This ideal composite represents the type of writer you’re trying to become. It gives you a springboard to use as a jumping off point for your own success by guiding and directing your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This version of Role Modeling is a great tool for both aspiring and established authors because it allows you to take traits and habits from several writers and incorporate those into your own writing lifestyle.
For more information on the many uses of Role Modeling to achieve writing success, refer to Chapter 8 in LIVING WRITE: The Secret to Bringing Your Craft Into Your Daily Life.
Question for discussion: Who is your Role Model and what traits or habits of that author will you start emulating in your writing life?
©Kelly L Stone
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No Matter How Busy You Are, You Can Find Time To Write!, presented by Kelly L. Stone, runs from January 9, 2012 through February 5, 2012
Kelly L. Stone started a successful writing career while holding down a full time job. She then wrote Time To Write (Adams Media, January, 2008) to show other aspiring writers how to do it, too. Her novel, Grave Secret (Mundania Press, September, 2007) was called "powerful" and "well written" by Romantic Times Book Reviews. Her latest book is LIVING WRITE: The Secret to Bringing Your Craft Into Your Daily Life was released in October 2010.